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Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Who Fears Death (edition 2010)

by Nnedi Okorafor

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7504912,394 (3.81)127
Title:Who Fears Death
Authors:Nnedi Okorafor
Info:Daw Books (2010), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

  1. 30
    Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (PhoenixFalls)
  2. 31
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Who Fears Death is post-apocalyptic futuristic fantasy and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms draws from classical sword and sorcery, but both are excellent novels about heroines who have found themselves beset and gifted (or possibly cursed) by powers beyond reckoning, while caught up in a political and supernatural power struggle that spans generations and eventually time itself.… (more)
  3. 10
    The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (sturlington)

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» See also 127 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016 | Task 26: Book and its prequel ( )
  Bodagirl | Nov 27, 2016 |
An excellent combination of African folk mythology and science fiction, anchored by great characters and some truly amazing writing. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
I could not put this book down. I loved that it took common high-fantasy tropes and transferred them to post-apocalyptic Africa. I loved the writing and I loved the central character.

Unfortunately, the book stumbled in the second half with some weird pacing issues, the failure to place logical limits on the heroine's growing power, and an ending that fell flat for me (although I realize some people loved it).

Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this read and recommend the book. I will be looking for anything Okorafor publishes in the future. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Who Fears Death is a sci-fi/fantasy novel and tells the story of Onyesonwu, a girl in post-apocalyptic Sudan. She is the child of rape, her mother being a member of a persecuted ethnic group, her father a member of the oppressive ethnic group. Because of this, she is always somewhat of an outcast, but as she grows up she begins to learn she has magical powers and a special destiny. She becomes a trained sorceress and works to overthrow her father and the oppressive regime he represents.

I really wanted to like this book. It felt fresh and different and feminist, and I tried really hard to get into it. I just couldn't really do it. The book deals with a lot of really heavy issues, many of which are very graphically described. Female genital mutilation, genocide, and rape as a weapon of genocide all play prominent roles in the novel. These issues are all relevant to recent conflicts in Sudan, and I was really intrigued to see how the author would weave them into a post-apocalyptic Sudan full of magic and sorcery and how it could be a commentary on current/recent events. I never really felt like a satisfying connection was made. Also, the society in the novel was very much shaped by the people's belief in the stories and teachings of "The Great Book," and I waiting for a more clear commentary on religious fundamentalism and the power of stories and religion to shape people's attitudes. While this was obviously a theme, it didn't play out as strongly as I was hoping.

This is not a genre that appeals to me in general, so I think I was mostly just turned off by all the magic and shape-shifting and mysticism. ( )
  klburnside | Sep 9, 2016 |
If you think Katniss Everdene is kickass wait until you meet Onyesonwu.

Part dystopian fantasy, part traditional folk tale, Nnedi Okorafor's tale of inter-tribal violence, rape and female castration is unshirking in its telling.

The book is a quest to put right ancient wrongs, to make reparation, to rewrite a twisted culture's holy book. Onyesonwu is both sorceress and teenager, a woman of incredible power who has to learn how to control that power. The book is about love, about being seen and accepted by those who love you and how that can empower a person to become who they are meant to be. Rooted as it is in African traditions, the magic and fantasy is far more interesting than the swords and sorcery of Western literature. Onyesonwu is a deliciously feisty character as well. You should read it. ( )
  missizicks | Aug 22, 2016 |
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"Dear friends, are you afraid of death?" - Patrice Lumumba, first and only elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
To my amazing father, Dr. Godwin Sunday Daniel Okoroafor, M.D., F.A.C.S. (1940-2004).
First words
My life fell apart when I was sixteen. Papa died. He had such a strong heart, yet he died. Was it the heat and smoke from his blacksmithing shop? It's true that nothing could take him from his work, his art. He loved to make the metal bend, to obey him. But his work only seemed to strengthen him; he was so happy in his shop. So what was it that killed him? To this day I can't be sure. I hope it had nothing to do with me or what I did back then.
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Book description
Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu—whose name means Who fears death?—was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling.
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Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.

(summary from another edition)

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